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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

How Russia Is Using Chinese Largesse to Circumvent the West’s Sanctions

by | September 3rd, 2015 | 02:52 pm

China has been energetically touting the benefits of its New Silk Road initiative, which aims to spend $40 billion a year to link Europe and Asia via roads, rail, and water. The stated goal is to open a whole region—Central and South Asia—to the world.1 The goal, China says, is to cut transport times for […]

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A Greek Election that Should Strengthen Tsipras’s Hand

by | August 21st, 2015 | 03:44 pm

For the third time this year, Greek voters will be going the polls, this time to elect a new Parliament on September 20 in the wake of the €86 billion bailout accord with European creditors and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s resignation. But the most likely outcome for this election will be to strengthen Tsipras’s hand […]

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“Agenda Brasil”: Brazil’s No Agenda Solution to the Crisis

by | August 19th, 2015 | 03:54 pm

Hit by the lowest approval ratings in history, cornered by an increasingly hostile Congress, and faced with widespread demonstrations against her government, President Dilma Rousseff recently sealed a pact with one of the least reliable members of her flailing coalition for a sweeping set of proposals to stave off the political crisis. Brazil’s new positive […]

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The Chinese Renminbi Is Not a Freely Usable Currency Yet

by | August 7th, 2015 | 03:55 pm

Is the Chinese renminbi (RMB) a freely usable currency? Most participants in international financial markets would say no, for several reasons. The government of China exercises tight limits and substantial oversight over the extent to which foreign investors can buy RMB and purchase claims on China. Chinese investors face similar restrictions on the extent to […]

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Athletes and CEOs: What Do Their Earnings Tell Us about the Income (and Taxation) of the Super Rich?

by | August 7th, 2015 | 09:31 am

Examining sports earnings growth may give us some insight into why the earnings of CEOs and others at the top have been so strong and why it may be efficient to tax them more heavily.

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Has Productivity Outstripped Wage Growth?

by | July 31st, 2015 | 03:41 pm

Robert Z. Lawrence argues that, contrary to a widespread perception of lagging wage growth, constant dollar labor compensation for all US workers has kept pace with output when appropriately measured from 1970 to 2000, and perhaps to as late as 2008.

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Forget about Exits: Europe’s Choreographed Policy Outlook

by | July 31st, 2015 | 02:09 pm

Following the confrontation-driven agreement between Greece and its international creditors on July 12, Europe appears ready for its usual August torpor. European leaders deserve a break. Their numerous emergency summits have stabilized the continent’s outlook for at least the next year, virtually eliminating the specter of a Grexit and lowering the prospect of a British […]

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IMF Exceptional Access and Reform Legislation: Do Not Link the Two Issues

by | July 23rd, 2015 | 09:59 am

In “The Lessons Greece’s Lenders Forgot” (Wall Street Journal, July 10), John Taylor argued that the United States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) erred in May 2010 by not abiding by the IMF’s 2003 framework for exceptional (large scale) access to its financial support. I argued in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that Taylor did not have all of his facts right about the Greek case and about the IMF’s framework for exceptional access.

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The Growing Gap between Real Wages and Labor Productivity

by | July 21st, 2015 | 02:33 pm

Since 1970, the real wages of US production workers have stagnated, despite the rapid growth in output per worker. This apparent disconnect between labor productivity and real wages is most dramatic when real output per hour is contrasted with real average hourly wages since 1970. While real average hourly wages have stagnated, business sector output […]

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Hopeful Outlook for Greece

by | July 20th, 2015 | 01:54 pm

If Greece implements its reform program approved by parliament, it has a good chance of stabilizing its economy and achieving growth in the years ahead, according to Jacob Funk Kirkegaard. Progress on the structural reform front can then lead to a discussion with European and international creditors about providing debt relief to Greece.

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